Sacramento Republic FC are settling into their season now, and with Saturday’s game against LA Galaxy II on tap, let’s go over three things we’re watching for ahead of the upcoming clash.
Don’t forget, this will be the first road game of the season for Sac Republic. They’ve started the season unbeaten, with a win and two draws, but can they maintain their unbeaten form on the road?
Adding to the weirdness of the season, Los Dos, playing their fourth game as well this season, will be playing their first home game. We won’t know until we see, but both teams may need a bit of adjusting to their respective set-up. I think both sides will be pretty much the same regardless of venue, but every season there’s teams that struggle on the road...or once in awhile, at home. That could be a factor for one side or the other in this game.
I don’t think it’s a huge crisis that Sacramento needed a stoppage-time penalty to win their last game against Reno 1868. We’ve seen enough games in our lives to know that sometimes, you can very much be the better team but you need a break your way to get the win, and on balance of play, Republic FC very much deserved a win.
Still, even though Reno goalkeeper Ben Beaury was very good in that game, there’s a bit of concern about SRFC’s inability to score from the run of play in that game. Some of it was Beaury, some of it was Cameron Iwasa beginning the game on the bench, some was Darek Formella’s struggles against Reno after a sparkling performance the game before against Tacoma Defiance.
Mark Briggs’ team has seen every scenario now this season — taking a first-half lead, coming back after conceding first, and scoring at the very end. With the team hopefully finding some rhythm, the hope will be they can start to score early and often to put games out of reach.
Out of group opponent, still important
The way the regular season is working, Sac Republic will play the bulk of their games against group opponents Reno, Tacoma and Portland Timbers 2. But their remaining non-group games, including against Los Dos, count in the standings, too. From the current position, with Sacramento on top of Group A, Saturday’s game is a way for them to try and put some distance between them and the other teams in the group.
And they may be meeting Galaxy II at just the right time. Junior Gonzalez’s roster is so very, very young, with none of the MLS reinforcements that occasionally come in to help out for Los Dos. It’s theoretically possible one of them could play in this game, with the Galaxy returning from the MLS is Back Tournament Friday evening, but I doubt it. So this could be the last chance to play Los Dos before they get a few players to help bolster the ranks.
Having said that, a very young LA squad beat San Diego Loyal on the road last weekend, so don’t count your chickens too fast. I think Sacramento fans will be prone to take the old rival here a bit lightly because they don’t have many players you will have ever heard of, but I expect this one to be a tight encounter, possibly separated by a goal. If Sacramento want to keep burnishing their title credentials, they’ll hope they get the goal edge on Saturday.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.